As a freelancer, I’m always worried about where checks are coming from. Hoping that clients pay on time and want my services for the next 30 days… Collectively, we exist on the edge of perceived brilliance (especially us writers in our own heads), and the edge of WTF happened to that contract. We espouse the currency of freedom over money. I’ll continue to sing that song because I’m good at what I do… Reality is, it’s not an easy path. You need one to have the other.

As I continue to grow and love my business more and more, I get hit between the eyes with the sappy intro I wrote above… Oh well… It’s a funny thing that happens when you make your own schedule.

I thought that retreating to a world that valued time over money would be rewarding. It is. It has been and still is… But, that’s conversation for a different time and place…

You see, working for yourself affords freedom and perspective. Gillian taught me a lot about that. And we both still have a lot to learn – she’s ahead of me but, that’s okay, I’m proving a quick study. I have full faith that we can both do this, and will. So far so good.

– –

Then tonight happened. Gillian is training for a 50k trail race in the Elkhorn Mountains outside of Baker City… Part of that training regimen is a Reese’s King Size candy bar – tonight was no special occasion. Understand that a significant part of my income goes to buying her chocolate of some sort on a nightly basis… To her credit, she’s told me to lay off lately. But, seeing as today ends in the letter Y, I couldn’t help myself…

Where we live is close to a Chevron station that has everything “convenience” one could ever want. Chocolate is easy to find.

We both buy our gas there. Chocolate and the daily energy drink are the norm. My wallet and, Gillian’s craving for chocolate are good for business.

– –

I went to the Chevron twice today… Once for gas and an energy drink, then again for a Reese’s as big as my arm.

For some reason, I noticed Billy. Billy works the night shift (far as I can tell) and pumps the gas. The thing about Billy is that he’s always cold… But he’s always smiling. We aren’t on a first name basis, but Billy greets every customer with a smile and warmth that could melt that Arctic.

Tonight was no different. As I walked out of Chevron, Billy had his hands in his overalls and was smiling like the second coming of Christ. I had Andrew Jackson’s picture in my pocket and gave it to him. He did nothing for me on this night, but it didn’t matter. He has countless times in the past and it seemed like the right thing to do. He smiled even bigger.

– –

The point of this diatribe isn’t to brag about me doing a good deed. Far from it. Tonight, I thank Billy. I thank him for his commitment to his job and service. Mostly, I thank him for his reminder of the goodness that is the human spirit. ‘Twas a friendly harbinger that good still exists aside from impeachments, hatred, conflict, crisis, etc.

Tonight, in a brief moment, Billy reminded me why I do what I do. To serve others and tell their story. My chosen medium is the written word. Tonight is my story with Billy.

My mission is to understand, translate and make someone’s dream a success. Therefore, I receive a sense of purpose and satisfaction.

As I embark on my own New Year’s Resolutions and 2020 goals, I’m thankful for two people tonight. Gillian, who is a leader in what she does and, Billy, who will be there smiling tomorrow for another unspoken life lesson as I buy chocolate.

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